Earl Lovelace (born 13 July 1935) is an award-winning Trinidadian novelist, journalist, playwright, and short story writer. He is particularly recognized for his descriptive, dramatic fiction on Trinidadian culture: "Using Trinidadian dialect patterns and standard English, he probes the paradoxes often inherent in social change as well as the clash between rural and urban cultures." As Bernardine Evaristo notes, "Lovelace is unusual among celebrated Caribbean writers in that he has always lived in Trinidad. Most writers leave to find support for their literary endeavours elsewhere and this, arguably, shapes the literature, especially after long periods of exile. But Lovelace's fiction is deeply embedded in Trinidadian society and is written from the perspective of one whose ties to his homeland have never been broken."
Born in Toco, Trinidad and Tobago, Earl Lovelace was sent to live with his grandparents in Tobago at a very young age, but rejoined his family in Toco when he was 11 years old. His family later moved to Belmont, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and then Morvant. Lovelace attended Scarborough Methodist Primary School, Scarborough, Tobago (1940–47), Nelson Street Boys, R.C., Port of Spain (1948), and Ideal High School, Port of Spain (1948–53, where he sat the Cambridge School Certificate). He worked at the Trinidad Guardian as a proofreader from 1953 to 1954, and then for the Department of Forestry (1954–56) and the Ministry of Agriculture (1956–66).
He began writing while stationed in the village of Valencia as a forest ranger. In 1962 his first novel, While Gods Are Falling, won the Trinidad and Tobago Independence literary competition sponsored by British Petroleum (BP).
From 1966 to 1967, Lovelace studied at Howard University, Washington, DC, and in 1974 he received an MA in English from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, where he was also Visiting Novelist. Winning a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980, he spent the year as a visiting writer at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He taught at Federal City College (now University of the District of Columbia), Washington, DC (1971–73), and from 1977 to 1987 he lectured in literature and creative writing at the University of the West Indies at St Augustine. He was appointed Writer-in-Residence in England by the London Arts Board (1995–96), a visiting lecturer in the Africana Studies Department at Wellesley College, Massachusetts (1996–97), and was Distinguished Novelist in the Department of English at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington (1999–2004).
Lovelace was Trinidad and Tobago's artistic director for Carifesta, held in the country in 1992, 1995 and 2006. He is a columnist for the Trinidad Express, and has contributed to a number of periodicals, including Voices, South, and Wasafiri. Based in Trinidad, while teaching and touring various countries, he was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Trinidad and Tobago in 2005, the year his 70th birthday was honoured with a conference and celebrations at the University of the West Indies. He is the president of the Association of Caribbean Writers.
When Lovelace's first novel, While Gods Are Falling, was published in 1965, C. L. R. James hailed "a new type of writer, a new type of prose, a different type of work". Lovelace went on to publish five further novels, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize-winning Salt (1996) and, most recently, Is Just a Movie, winner of the 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. In 1986, he published the novel The Wine of Astonishment that deals with the strugggle of a Spiritual Baptist community, from the passing of the prohibition ordinance until the ban. He has also written plays, short stories, essays, and a children's book.
His artist son Che Lovelace illustrated the jacket of the 1997 US edition of his novel Salt. Earl Lovelace collaborated with his filmmaker daughter Asha Lovelace on writing the film Joebell and America, based on his short story of the same title.
- 1963, British Petroleum Independence Award, 1963, for While Gods Are Falling.
- 1966, Pegasus Literary Award, for outstanding contributions to the arts in Trinidad and Tobago.
- 1977, awards for best play and best music for Pierrot Ginnard.
- 1980, Guggenheim fellowship.
- 1985, Jestina’s Calypso voted the most original play at the Trinidad & Tobago Drama Festival.
- 1986, National Endowment for the Humanities grant.
- 1988, Chaconia Medal (Gold) from the government of Trinidad & Tobago.
- 1997, Best Book, Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book), 1997, for Salt.
- 1998, Shortlist, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Salt.
- 2002, Honorary Doctorate of Letters from University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, 2002.
- 2011, Grand Prize for Caribbean Literature, from Regional Council of Guadeloupe, for Is Just a Movie.
- 2012, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for Is Just a Movie (winner of Fiction category and overall winner).
- 2012, Caribbean-Canadian Literary Award.
- 2012, Lifetime Literary Award from the National Library and Information System (Nalis), Trinidad.
- While Gods Are Falling, London: Collins, 1965; Chicago, IL: Regnery, 1966.
- The Schoolmaster, London: Collins, 1968.
- The Dragon Can't Dance, London: André Deutsch, 1979. Faber & Faber, 1998
- The Wine of Astonishment, Oxford: Heinemann, Caribbean Writers Series (1983); 2010 edition includes CSEC-specific study notes. ISBN 978-0-435-03340-8
- Salt (winner of 1997 Commonwealth Writers' Prize; International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award shortlist 1998), London: Faber & Faber, 1996; New York: Persea Books, 1997.
- Is Just a Movie (winner of 2012 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature), London: Faber & Faber, January 2011. ISBN 0-571-25567-1.
- A Brief Conversion and Other Stories, Oxford: Heinemann, 1988.
- Jestina's Calypso and Other Plays, Oxford: Heinemann, 1984.
- Growing in the Dark. Selected Essays (ed. Funso Aiyejina; San Juan, Trinidad: Lexicon Trinidad, 2003).
Plays and musicals
- The New Boss, 1962.
- My Name Is Village, produced in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at Queen's Hall, 1976.
- Pierrot Ginnard (musical drama), produced in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at Queen's Hall, 1977.
- Jestina's Calypso, produced in St Augustine, Trinidad, at the University of the West Indies, 1978.
- The Wine of Astonishment (adapted from his novel), performed in Port of Spain, Trinidad; Barbados, 1987.
- The New Hardware Store, produced at University of the West Indies, 1980. Produced in London, England, by Talawa Theatre Company, at the Arts Theatre, 1987.
- The Dragon Can't Dance (adapted from his novel), produced in Port of Spain, Trinidad, at Queen's Hall, 1986. Published in Black Plays: 2, ed. Yvonne Brewster, London: Methuen, 1989. Produced in London at Theatre Royal Stratford East, by Talawa Theatre Company, with music by Andre Tanker, 29 June - 4 August 1990.
- The Reign of Anancy, performed in Port of Spain, Trinidad, 1989.
- Joebell and America, produced in Lupinot Village, Trinidad, 1999.
- Crawfie the Crapaud (for children), Longman, 1998.
- Joebell and America (film, co-written with and directed by Asha Lovelace; Trinidad: Caribbean Communications Network, premiered TV6, Trinidad, 2004).
- Aiyejina, Funso (ed.), A Place in the World: Essays and Tributes in Honour of Earl Lovelace @ 70. University of the West Indies, Trinidad, 2008.
- Aiyejina, Funso. “Salt: A Complex Tapestry”, Trinidad and Tobago Review 18.10-12 (1996): 13-16.
- Dalleo, Raphael. "Cultural Studies and the Commodified Public: Luis Rafael Sánchez's La guaracha del Macho Camacho and Earl Lovelace's The Dragon Can't Dance", Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere: From the Plantation to the Postcolonial, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.
- Hodge, Merle, "The Language of Earl Lovelace", in Anthurium, Vol. 4, Issue 2, Fall 2006.
- Raja, Masood Ashraf. "We Is All People: The Marginalized East-Indian and the Economy of Difference in Lovelace’s The Dragon Can’t Dance". Caribbean Studies 34 (1): 111–130. 2006.
- Schwarz, Bill (ed.), Caribbean Literature after Independence: The Case of Earl Lovelace. London: Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2008. ISBN 978-1-900039-91-8
- Thomas, H. Nigel. "From ‘Freedom’ to ‘Liberation’: An Interview with Earl Lovelace", World Literature Written in English, 31.1 (1991): 8-20.
- "Earl Lovelace", Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Bernardine Evaristo, "Is Just a Movie by Earl Lovelace – review. An incisive and witty portrait of Trinidadian society...", The Guardian (London), 29 January 2011.
- "Earl Lovelace", Best of Trinidad.
- "Cultural Icons: Earl Lovelace", Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
- Peter Richards, "Carifesta Overcomes a Comedy of Errors", Inter Press Service, 11 October 2006.
- "Carifesta IX in Trinidad", The Junction Blog, September 17, 2006.
- "Some Poetry News – CARIFESTA", Scavella's Blogsphere.
- "St. Lucia expected to participate in 4th Congress of Caribbean Writers in Guadeloupe", St. Lucia News Online, 7 April 2015.
- "4th edition of the Congress of Caribbean Writers, one of the most 'popular' editions ever!", Bajan Reporter, 28 April 2015.
- Verdel Bishop, "A place for Lovelace", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 7 April 2014.
- Katy Stickland, "Lovelace – ‘A Writer in his Place’", Tobago News, 12 October 2014.
- C. L. R. James, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, July 1969, no. 7, p. 79, quoted by Kenneth Ramchand, "Trinidad’s Earl Lovelace: Watching the Landscape of this Island", Caribbean Beat, Issue 35, January/ February 1999.
- Lovelace, Earl (December 17, 1986). The Wine of Astonishment. Oxford.
- Cover of US edition of Salt.
- Joebell and America page at Caribbean Tales.
- Earl Lovelace biography, British Council, Literature.
- 1998 Shortlist, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
- Lasana M. Sekou, "George Lamming awarded in Cuba; Derek Walcott wins in Trinidad; Earl Lovelace leads in Guadeloupe", Bahamas Weekly, 9 May 2011.
- Maia Chung, "Earl Lovelace Pushes For Literary Unity", The Gleaner, 29 May 2011.
- "Lovelace cops US$10,000 Bocas prize", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 28 April 2012.
- "Lovelace savours Lit Fest victory", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 29 April 2012.
- "Writers honoured at Caribbean-Canadian Literary Awards", Share, 1 November 2012.
- Neil Armstrong, "Olive Senior And Earl Lovelace Honoured In Toronto", The Gleaner, 16 November 2012.
- Zahra Gordon, "Lovelace: Better future lies in confronting present", Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 17 November 2012.
- Lovelace, Earl (1986). The Wine of Astonishment. Heinemann Educational Books.
- Trinidadian Letters: Trinidadian Literary Culture at the Wayback Machine (archived April 6, 2003) (26 September 2001): Chezia B. Thompson, "Lovelace"; Brian Pastoor, "Poetry of Paradox in Earl Lovelace's The Dragon Can't Dance"; Funso Aiyejina, "An Intertextual Critical Approach to Salt by Earl Lovelace"; Edith Perez Sisto, Interview with Earl Lovelace.
- Kelly Hewson, "An Interview with Earl Lovelace, June 2003", Postcolonial Text, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2004).
- Nadia Indra Johnson, "Earl Lovelace: Selected Bibliography", Anthurium, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Fall 2006.
- "Earl Lovelace", British Council, Literature. Accessed 27 January 2006.
- The Strand on Is Just a Movie, BBC World Service, 4 January 2011.
- “We are on the verge of listening” - Earl Lovelace talks to B.C. Pires, Caribbean Review of Books, January 2011.
- Sophie Megan Harris, "An Interview with Earl Lovelace" (14 and 24 June 2011), SX Salon, Small Axe, 28 May 2012.
- Raquel Puig, "The Meandering Mind and the Film Image: Interview with Earl Lovelace", Sargasso: Celebrating Caribbean Voices 2010-2011, Special Issue.
- J. K. Fowler, "PEN 2013 Workshop: Earl Lovelace on Reclaiming Rebellion", The Mantle, 1 May 2013.
- Patricia J. Saunders, "The Meeting Place of Creole Culture: A Conversation with Earl Lovelace". Calabash, New York University.